So, how many Christmas films have you watched in November? There have been good and bad ones, but today it’s a film I’ve heard only good things. It’s always good to watch new films, and this is one I’m looking forward to.
And today it’s…
30th November, Day 31
Rare Exports (Jalmari Helander, 2010)
In northen Finland at the beginning of December, a foreman shows his boss the strange results of the excavation they are undertaking. Why would there be a 65 foot layer of sawdust in the middle of this mountain? The boss, a rich benefactor, has been searching for something all his life and is sure that this is where he will find it. He instructs the team to drill, dig, and dynamite their way through the rock until they reach their goal – the grave of Father Christmas!
This is overheard by local young boys Pietari and Juuso. This leads to Pietari reading every book he can on Father Christmas, and discovering the original Father Christmas was a beast who punished children as well as giving gifts (more similar to the Germanic Krampus rather the cuddly St Nick). This leads to him getting more and more scared, and he ends up wrapping himself up on Christmas Eve and stapling his last advent calendar door shut.
As December has gone on, the local Reindeer have seemingly been slaughtered by the wolves of the mountain, driven to feast further down the mountain by the disruption caused by the explosions and mining. Pietari’s father Rauno is a Reindeer meat butcher, and his slaughterhouse is being driven to the point of bankruptcy by the deaths of the Reindeer. When they go to confront the mining team, they find the site empty. He builds a trap to stop the wolves attacking his home, but on Christmas Eve he finds something even worse in the pit. What did the miners find? Was Father Christmas really buried up there? And will the tiny local community be able to survive?
The list of Finnish films I have seen begins and ends with this film – but it will take some effort from the land of Jari Litmanen to top this. Rare Exports is a cracker of a film. There’s a great concept, and it really delivers. The performances of the three leads are well pitched, playing it totally straight but with a hint of daftness. The young actor playing Pietari (Onni Tommila) deserves special recognition for his performance as well.
There aren’t many films with such stunning scenery, genuine chemistry, and an ingenious plot. It will be on Film4 this festive season, and I can’t recommend it high enough.
Overall, I give this
A rare treat.
Tomorrow we are finally in December, and we start with Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hank teaming-up to make POLAR EXPRESS.
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppet’s Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf
26th November, Day 27: Home Alone / Home Alone 2
27th November, Day 28: The Grinch
28th November, Day 29: Black Christmas
29th November, Day 30: Jingle All The Way
30th November, Day 31: Rare Exports
PPS Here’s the original short film it’s based on. Enjoy!